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New York World's Fair 1964/1965

The following sources are recommended by an expert whose research specialty is the 1964/1965 New York World's Fair.


Six Superlative Sources

· Time-Life Books, the Editors. New York World's Fair, 1964/1965: Official Guide Book. Time-Life Books, 1964; revised edition, Time-Life Books, 1965. The official guide book of the fair contains descriptions of all pavilions and exhibits in synopsis form, maps, special dates, restaurants, and more. It is the definitive guide to the fair. The 1964 edition contains a more complete description of exhibits than the 1965 edition and includes a list of architects as well. In some cases, exhibits and exhibitors changed in 1965, and therefore both versions of the guide book are important to study in order to get a complete view of both operating seasons. Note especially that the Official Guide Book is not the same as the Official Souvenir Book, which is not recommended as a good source of information.

· The Queens Museum, New York. Remembering the Future: The New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1964. Rizzoli, 1989. Published to accompany the 1989 Queens Museum exhibition "Remembering the Future: The New York World's Fair from 1939 to 1964, this 208-page book is an excellent retrospective of the fair from the vantage point of twenty-five years after it closed. In six lengthy chapters, the book describes the times the fair was held in, discusses Robert Moses' (president of the fair) impact on the fair, explores the role science and technology played, discusses the space-age architecture of the pavilions, looks at the display of (and lack of) art at the fair, and examines its cultural legacy. It is an ambitious, no-holds-barred, and objective look at what the fair did and failed to do and its impact on our cultural history. It goes behind the scenes to describe how the fair came to be and examines the many controversies surrounding the fair.

· Caro, Robert A. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Alfred A. Knopf, 1974. This Pulitzer Prize winning book is Caro's examination of Robert Moses, New York's "Master Builder," who headed the New York World's Fair Corporation from 1960 to 1972. Of special interest to the researcher is Chapter 45, "Off to the Fair," and Chapter 47, "The Great Fair," which chronicle Moses' role in the fair and the controversies his presidency created. Caro thoroughly examines the financial difficulties that plagued the fair and their causes. Robert Moses is synonymous with the fair, and his presidency and personality had direct influence on the successes and failures of the exposition.

· Grant, Joyce. NY World's Fair Collectibles, 1964-1965. Schiffer Publishing, 1999. This book is a visual feast of the physical legacies of the fair: the souvenirs and memorabilia that are now considered "collectible." The book is limited as a tool to ascribe value to items from the fair, because prices of the fair's collectibles are subject to time and other factors. However, the photographs provide a wonderful resource of examples of the hundreds of items that were produced to promote the fair, to document the exhibits, and to provide souvenirs for the fairgoers.

· Anderson, Paul F., ed. Persistence of Vision: An Unofficial Historical Journal Celebrating the Legacy of Walt Disney. Nos. 6/7. This publication is technically classified as a magazine, but, at nearly two hundred pages, Issue 6/7 can be more accurately described as a book. It is the definitive work on Walt Disney's participation in the New York World's Fair. The four shows designed for the fair by Disney, "Carousel of Progress" for General Electric, "The Magic Skyway" for Ford, "It's a Small World" for Pepsi-Cola, and "Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln" for the State of Illinois, were some of most popular and well-remembered exhibits of the fair. They allowed Disney to develop the technology known as audio-animatronics with which computers and audio tape controlled animated figures. This technology formed the basis for most of Disney's presentations at theme parks around the world. In fact, all or part of the fair shows ended up in some form at Disney's theme parks. This magazine/book is an amazing in-depth look at what went into making the Disney shows for the fair. Since they are among the best remembered exhibits of the fair, this work is invaluable.

· Young, Bill. New York World's Fair, 1964/1965. This web site presents a detailed look at the fair. It does so, mainly, by reproducing the paper artifacts of the fair, from postcards and brochures to technical manuals, official fair photographs, and a myriad of other items. It also presents essays and stories from fair visitors and officials, maps, and discussion forums. The visitor will find hundreds of pages and thousands of photographs to peruse. Many of the major exhibits are featured. This web site faithfully recreates documents that would otherwise be unavailable except from collectible sources. Excerpts from rare documents, such as official World's Fair Corporation manuals, and private photographs and materials from people directly involved with the fair are presented. Many of the brochures given to fairgoers are also recreated. A navigation tutorial is available and is recommended reading before exploring the considerable content. Links to other 1964/1965 New York World's Fair websites can be found here as well.

Other Excellent Sources

· Nicholson, Bruce. Hi, Ho, Come to the Fair: Tales of the World's Fair in New York, 1964-1965. Pelagian Press, 1989. Nicholson was a member of the International Division of the New York World's Fair Corporation, assigned to Latin American operations, and was one of the men whose job it was to convince the governments of the world to participate with an exhibit. This was no small task, considering the fair did not receive an endorsement by the Bureau of International Expositions to be an "official" World's Fair. This book is a one-of-a-kind, insider look into how the fair was created and what difficulties the International Division encountered in achieving international participation. It is also an interesting look at what it was like to work for Robert Moses, president of the fair corporation.

· New York Public Library, Manuscripts and Archives Division. New York World's Fair (1964-1965) Records. The New York Public Library became the recipient of all of the documents from the New York World's Fair 1964/1965 Corporation following its dissolution in 1972. The materials are available for research by the general public. The collection contains some three thousand boxes of information.

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